The four oldest players available (Jamison – 32, Dixon – 30, Songaila – 30, and Butler – 28) combined to score 81 points, 73.6% of the total.
But that doesn’t take away from what Blatche, McGee, Crittenton, Young and McGuire contributed in the win. In fact, Young and McGee led the team in +/-, both finishing +11.
The Wizards bench outscored the Wolves bench 26-16 and also contributed 16 of the team’s 46 total rebounds.
Paced By A Lithuanian
Darius Songaila came out on fire…..before you knew it, he had 11 points in the first 4:34, finishing the game on 8-9 FGs and 19 points, four off his career high.
Not only was his hot start important in terms of setting the tone for his teammates to take care of the even more hapless Timberwolves (even though they have a better record — the Wiz did sweep the season series), but D-Song was able to score so much due to excellent team floor spacing…and his hustle of course.
Third Quarter Hiccup
The Wiz started sluggishly in the third, allowing the Wolves to jump out on a quick 9-2 run in the first 2+ minutes, taking a 53-51 lead. But the ‘Zards persevered behind 14 3rd quarter points from Antawn Jamison to take a 79-73 lead heading into the final period.
Big 4th Quarter Plays
After having a Juan Dixon bucket sandwiched by two T’Wolves buckets in the first minute plus, the Wizards went on a 13-0 run, aided by three Andray Blatche blocks, to take a 94-77 lead with 7:21 left.
8:58: Andray Blatche got a block and the ball found itself in the hands of JaVale McGee streaking down the middle of the paint in transition. JaVale showed great development by not plowing into Brian Cardinal, trying to set up to take a charge, and instead opted to dish the ball to Butler for the dunk while getting out of the way –Chenier and Buckhantz loved this. 87-77 Wiz.
7:54: McGee fought for position, got an offensive board, gathered himself, was fouled, and found a way to make a short athletic baseline jumper…and 1. 92-77 Wiz.
5:15: After Randy Foye went down with an injury, for which he later had to be carried off the court, the Wizards…err, Andray Blatche….absolutely bumbled a 5-on-4 advantage. Blatche completely telegraphed a pass that led to a turnover….horrible instinct from Andray. The Wolves eventually got twoFTs off the possession and cut the Wizards lead to 9, 94-85…..capping an 8-0 Wolves run on top of the previous 13-0 Wiz run.
4:40: The Gentleman Jamison came through big to end the Wolves run with a strong take to the middle and a hook right under the basket….not even one of Jamison’s trick shots. 96-85 Wiz.
4:11: Dixon gets his 5th and 6th points of the game….good to see him play with composure when given minutes (in Mike James’ absence) after he was complaining about time (slightly) about a week ago. 98-85 Wiz.
2:44: Caron Butler hits a calm and collective J from the corner to keep the Wolves at bay. 102-89 Wiz.
1:21: Juan Dixon with a sweet look-away pass, after baseline dribble penetration, to Jamison who was lost by Minny right under the hoop. 105-92 Wiz.
0:56: Young Andray Blatche hits the glass hard for a put-back board. 107-94 Wiz.
Wizards 110 – Timberwolves 99 – NBA.com Box
Overall, the Wizards won with a steadying veteran presence and balanced stat sheet stuffing (Butler: 27 points, 10 boards, 6 assists, 2 steals; Dixon: 9 points, 4 assists, 6 boards).
A strong dose of points in the paint also helped the Wiz against an equally bad team.
But most importantly, the Wizards limited turnovers (10 total for the game, three in the 2nd half)….credit Javaris Crittenton and Dixon for that.
[Get well wishes also go out to Mike James, Oleksiy Pecherov, and Steve Buckhantz, who sounded congested as hell during the broadcast, but was still relatively on his game.]
[photo source: flickr/Keith Allison]